Sunday, October 10, 2010

In memory of a friend

When I left Houston and moved to NYC my life changed dramatically for many reasons. I was on my final pathway to me and at Harry's office I met Lana another girl like me and one who would be a lifetime friend. It was a sad day for Lana because she was distraught over the death of a friend of hers that was transsexual. It would not be the last one of us to die from unnatural causes.

Eventually there was a group of six of us that became friends. It was a diverse group but we were all young. In the 60's and early 70's kids like me made it to NYC or Frisco. It certainly wasn't for safety but maybe because there was a growing community of transsexual kids in our age range. All of us were in our early to mid to late 20's and had transitioned as early as 14 but no later than 17.  We had a lot in common but only 3 of us were Harry's patients.

There were rules one had to abide by with Harry. No dating straight guys if they do not know which of course begs the question are they straight if they will date us before which is another post I want to write. Lana and I were very close to Pamela who was a girl from some hayseed town in Ohio who had been run out of her home at 16 by her father and had headed for New York and had ended up on the streets in the sex trades.

She had started hormones when she arrived in NYC. If you needed it you could get it in NYC for the right price. She got herself off the streets and worked for one of the seedy peep show places that once dominated 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan and she had worked her way into managing the entire operation. She was desperately saving for surgery and was 28 with brownish auburn tinted hair and sparkling green eyes and just a bit taller than my 5'-8" height. She was a beautiful young lady.

We had the same dreams and aspirations in life and Lana, Pam and I became very close and I tried to convince her to see Harry but she was happy the way it was. Lana and Pamela would show up at my office at the construction site and we would go to lunch 2 or 3 times a week. She had a boyfriend that none of us had met but we assumed he knew because boyfriends never met us if they knew for privacy reasons.

On October 11, 1970 I was woken by my phone around 5 AM by Lana who was hysterical. Pam had been murdered in her apartment in the Village and Lana was listed at work as her call in case of emergency and the people where she worked became worried when she failed to arrive for work and she was found by the building super. I went with Lana to identify the body and my beautiful friend had been brutalized and the cop who took us to the viewing room found it necessary to add she had been raped with something not made of flesh and blood and did we know she was a man.

Lana got it out before I could that she was a beautiful young girl you stupid f*@k and then we both added check with the boyfriend. He murdered her because he found out she wasn't complete and his attorney was good and he plead to manslaughter and did maybe 3 years because the life of a tranny was worth less then than even now and there was half a paragraph in one of the local rags about her death and that was it. She was identified as a transvestite.

The worst part after her death was her parents were notified and she was taken back to hayseed Ohio to be buried. Her parents had her implants removed, her hair and nails cut and buried her as a boy just to add insult to her horrible death.

40 years ago today a beautiful life was ended by hate and nobody gave a damn except for her few friends and maybe the worst part of it is I sit here drinking a toast to a lost friend and the same assholes like him are still killing us.

I just don't understand that kind of hate. God bless your soul Pam.



Caroline said...

Hi, I have been directed here by my friend Melissa who loves to join in and comment but as her post show has problems with some blogs settings, I guess many wonder why their comments are fewer than expected and it might just be bloggers fault having the least universal default.

Looks like I should read your blog from the beginning so...

Caroline xxx

Claire L Hallam said...

As always I seem to get to the "happening" place a little later than everyone else! I too came here on Melissa's advice...and what a privelege. I've spent the morning reading your posts from start to finish. Many thanks for such a fascinating insight into Harry Benjamin, the hard times that we forget....and I look forward to hearing more about NYC life. Thank you Liz!

Melissa said...

Welcome to Blogger Liz! Thank you so much for changing you blog's comment settings. I been following your excellent blog since it first appeared, and I was so frustrated that I couldn't comment.

Your profile picture is just gorgeous! I've really enjoyed reading your accounts of things back in the 60's and 70's. This post was quite sad however. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's tragic murder. What a travesty that the thug only got 3 years for brutally murdering her! I think we've come a long way since then, but sadly homophobia and transphobia still seem ingrained in our culture.

Keep writing, Liz! You're doing a wonderful job!

Melissa XX

Elizabeth said...


I guess it is better today but sometimes I wonder. Too much hate in this world and the worst part about the hate is a lot of it comes from people that should know better.


Caroline said...

Yesterday I only read one paragraph before I realised this blog had to be read from the beginning.

Priceless living treasure.

Caroline xxx

Anonymous said...


Reading your stories really helps me to appreciate the support that I have in my life. It also shows me how far we have come even tho work still needs to be done.

I could not imagine losing someone like that. I know it was some time ago but I send you my love and hugs just the same!!!